Review by Choice Review
For older Americans, November 22 brings an annual bout of the blues, a reminder of John F. Kennedy's horrific public murder; Camelot, too, and its myths and symbols fall on one's consciousness as so many dead leaves. Within this context, Perry (government, Sweet Briar College; The Priestly Tribe: The Supreme Court's Image in the American Mind, CH Jul'00, 37-6544; coauthor, Freedom and the Court: Civil Rights and Liberties in the United States, 6th-8th eds., 1994-2003) offers this biography of a first lady who many know only as the enigmatic veiled widow toughing it out at JFK's state funeral, her small children in tow. In this second volume in the publisher's "Modern First Ladies" series, Perry seeks to give readers more--to consider Jackie in a different light. Perry "examines how Mrs. Kennedy created emblems ... her fashions, White House restoration, and association with the arts and culture [even as the author] delineates ... exactly what she did as first lady ... in historical, political, and sociological contexts." In this Perry succeeds. The book has photos, notes, and a bibliographic essay. For a different perspective, read Nina Burleigh's A Very Private Woman: The Life and Unsolved Murder of Presidential Mistress Mary Meyer (1998). ^BSumming Up: Recommended. All levels/libraries. P. D. Travis Texas Woman's University
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Written to assess "Jackie Kennedy's historical impact on the institution of the First Lady," this account by Perry, a professor of government, chronicles Kennedy's push to restore the White House, promote the arts and cultural institutions, and define her husband's legacy. Perry argues that Kennedy was significant, in part, because she was a transitional figure. She was, according to Perry, among the last of the "traditional First Ladies"-women who defined themselves as "supportive spouses/model wives"-but she also stepped out of that role. In fact, Kennedy "established a pattern that her successors could adopt and adapt to publicize their own less traditional policy agendas." However, Perry spends little time expanding this insight. Instead, her book chronicles Kennedy's work and decision making in minute detail, recounting the particulars of correspondence between the First Lady and her staff about White House decor or plans for redesigning Lafayette Square. Perry also portrays Kennedy as a woman who presented herself, her family and the White House as icons of American freedom designed to promote democracy and challenge the legitimacy of Soviet communism. But once again, this argument remains undeveloped. Perry's study provides few new analytic insights about Jacqueline's tenure in the White House or beyond. The book's strength lies in Perry's attention to detail. 16 photos. (Sept. 9) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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